Sunday, March 30, 2008

May 20: Jason Shinder Poetry Reading and Wally Lamb

We sadly note the passing in April of Jason Shinder, a gifted poet, gentle soul, and good friend, after a tenacious battle with cancer. For the May 20th event, we will read a few of his poems, and then turn the evening over to Wally Lamb.

Jason Shinder's most recent poetry books are Among Women and Arrow Breaking Apart. A recipient of 2007 poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Council on the Arts, his poetry has appeared in the New Yorker, Paris Review, and elsewhere. His other books include Best American Movie Writing; Writers on Therapy, The Poem That Changed America; "Howl" Fifty Years Later, and the forthcoming The Poem I Turn To: Actors, Directors & other Moviemakers Present Poems That Inspire Them. He was the founder/director of the YMCA National Writer's Voice, YMCA Arts & Humanities, and the Gibson Music International Program, and taught in the graduate writing program at Bennington College. His work within the filmmaking community has included the directing of the Arts Writing Program at Sundance Institute.

Wally Lamb’s third novel, The Hour I First Believed (HarperCollins, forthcoming) explores chaos theory by interfacing several generations of a fictional Connecticut family with such nonfictional American events as the Civil War, Boston’s 1942 Coconut Grove nightclub fire, and the Columbine High School shootings of 1999. His first two novels, She’s Come Undone (Simon and Schuster/Pocket, 1992) and I Know This Much Is True (HarperCollins/ReganBooks, 1998), were # 1 New York Times bestsellers, New York Times Notable Books of the Year, and featured titles of Oprah’s Book Club. Wally has also edited the nonfiction anthologies Couldn’t Keep It to Myself: Testimonies from Our Imprisoned Sisters (HarperCollins/ReganBooks, 2003) and I’ll Fly Away (HarperCollins, 2007), collections of autobiographical essays that evolved from a writing workshop Lamb facilitates at Connecticut’s York Correctional Institute, a maximum-security prison for women. He has served as a Connecticut Department of Corrections volunteer from 1999 to the present.

A Connecticut native, Wally holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in teaching from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing degree from Vermont College. He has taught at Norwich Free Academy and the University of Connecticut, where he directed the English Department’s creative writing program.

Wally has received a host of awards, including the Connecticut Center for the Book’s Lifetime Achievement Award and Distinguished Alumni awards from Vermont College and the University of Connecticut. He was the 1999 recipient of the New England Book Award for fiction. He and his wife, Christine, are the parents of three sons, Jared, Justin, and Teddy.